HC Deb 20 April 1950 vol 474 cc314-5
47. Sir R. Glyn

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he is aware that many farmers are anxious to keep sheep but are prevented from so doing by the shortage of shepherds; and whether he will consult with the Minister of Labour with a view to considering any plan that may assist flock-masters to obtain the services of qualified shepherds, men or women.

Mr. T. Williams

The sheep population has been rising since 1947, but I am aware that in certain areas the shortage of shepherds is one factor, among others, limiting further recovery. The number of regular workers in agriculture has increased, however, and in my view it is primarily tor the industry itself to devise means for training young workers as shepherds. In this connection, I should be glad to see more rapid progress made with the agricultural apprenticeship scheme which the industry has for some time had under consideration.

Sir R. Glyn

Has the right hon. Gentleman had any consultation with the Ministry of Labour on this matter?

Mr. Williams

Yes; and we are now conducting a publicity campaign to secure further recruits to agriculture generally, instead of specifying only one or two sectors of the industry.

Sir H. Williams

As the right hon. Gentleman's colleagues now have fewer "sheep" to look after, will he release one or two of them to act as shepherds?